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Sunday Night Hockey

Sabres face off against a struggling Sharks team and old friend Aaron Dell.

San Jose Sharks v Buffalo Sabres Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images

Game 25

Buffalo Sabres (10-13-1) vs. San Jose Sharks (8-15-4)

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM EST | KeyBank Center | Buffalo, NY

TV: MSG

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Sharks Blog: Fear The Fin

Know Your Opponent

San Jose Sharks

Record: (8-15-4)

Last Game: 5-2 loss @ Senators

Division Ranking: 7th in Pacific Division

PP: 20% (24th)

PK: 88.2% (1st)

What to Watch

1. The Return of the Dell

Sabres fans know all too much about Sharks goaltender Aaron Dell, who will be making his second start of the season against his former club. In 12 games last year with Buffalo, Dell was 1-8-1, with a .893 save percentage and a 4.03 GAA, statistics that no hockey fan should be subjected to. That’s not all, however, as Dell also threw a hit during a game against Ottawa last year that injured Drake Batherson, which led to a 3 game suspension for the goalie.

After one of the worst seasons for a Buffalo goalie in recent memory (and that’s saying a lot), Sabres fans should be confident about the prospect of going against Dell this time, especially as the Sharks are on the second game of a back-to-back. San Jose has also only won twice in the past nine contests and is in the midst of a rebuild year, so the Sabres high-scoring offense should be able to create more than a fair share of opportunities.

Poll

How Many Goals Will Buffalo Score on Dell?

This poll is closed

  • 8%
    2 or less
    (5 votes)
  • 10%
    3
    (6 votes)
  • 31%
    4
    (18 votes)
  • 49%
    5 or more
    (28 votes)
57 votes total Vote Now

2. Skillful Swedes

While the Sharks and Sabres have gone through a fair share of struggles this season, both teams have had stellar play out of their top defensemen up to this point. Although almost 10 years apart in age, San Jose’s Erik Karlsson and Buffalo’s Rasmus Dahlin, who both hail from Sweden, play a very similar game and have been two of the NHL’s best players this season.

Karlsson leads the league in goals (11) and points (33) for a defenseman, while Dahlin is second and not far behind with 8 goals and 27 points in four less games. While both Karlsson and Dahlin are solid in the defensive zone, their talent and success are really prominent on offense, where they are terrific creating opportunities and space for both themselves and other teammates. As Dahlin plays a large role in offensive production, Karlsson is relied on even more to generate offense, so look for him to be a big factor in the game tonight.

3. Red & Black Part 2

After debuting the new red & black alternate jerseys against the Blues almost two weeks ago, the Sabres will wear them for a second time against the Sharks tonight. Buffalo had success in the goatheads the first time around, beating St. Louis handily 6-2, with Skinner and Quinn each scoring two goals. Luukkonen was also the goaltender for the first red & black jersey night, and will once again be in net tonight.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres

Forwards

Jeff Skinner - Tage Thompson - Alex Tuch

JJ Peterka - Dylan Cozens - Jack Quinn

Casey Mittelstadt - Peyton Krebs - Victor Olofsson

Kyle Okposo - Tyson Jost - Zemgus Girgensons

Defense

Mattias Samuelsson - Rasmus Dahlin

Owen Power - Henri Jokiharju

Jacob Bryson - Casey Fitzgerald

Goaltenders: Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (projected starter), Craig Anderson

Scratches: Vinnie Hinostroza, Lawrence Pilut, Rasmus Asplund

Injuries: Eric Comrie, Ilya Lyubushkin

San Jose Sharks

Forwards

Timo Meier - Tomas Hertl - Kevin Labanc

Matt Nieto - Logan Couture - Alexander Barabanov

Noah Gregor - Nick Bonino - Luke Kunin

Jonah Gadjovich - Steven Lorentz - Oskar Lindblom

Defense

Jaycob Megna - Erik Karlsson

Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Matt Benning

Radim Simek - Nick Cicek

Goaltenders: Aaron Dell (projected starter), Kaapo Kahkonen

Scratches: Evgeny Svechnikov, Mario Ferraro

Injuries: Markus Nutivaara, James Reimer, Nico Sturm